OT - Osgood's "luck"

Submitted by WolverSwede on June 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 AM

Tonight, I made the mistake of reading this: http://www.thepensblog.com/pensblog/june-2009/is-this-hockey-pens-lose…

Amongst the comments, I heard many Pens fans mention Osgood as being "lucky" in that several shots hit the posts. I think this is total crap. Here's why:

A goalie, to my understanding, is charged with preventing the puck from crossing his (or her if you're the Lightning from like 15 years ago) goal line. It is not, however, necessary to prevent the puck from coming near the goal line. Any puck that hits the post is no more the responsibility of the goalie than a shot that misses the net by 4 feet. One may argue that the goalie is fortunate that the shot was not directed a fractional distance towards the direction of center of the net. However, if the Mighty Ducks (not the Anaheim ones) taught us anything it's that if the puck goes a half inch the other way, it misses the net completely. If a goalie is lucky when the puck hits the post, then we are basically saying that hockey shots are random. Therefore, any goal scored as the result of a shot is also "lucky". We should just start doing a coin flip. Another conclusion we might make from these fans' statements is that Osgood is "lucky" that the Penguins are not better shooters then they actually are. I suppose I agree with that. The Red Wings are indeed lucky that the Pittsburgh roster is not composed of better players.


Super J

June 2nd, 2009 at 1:31 AM ^

talk about how "unlucky" their own goalie happens to be in this series. He has had some bad breaks with rebounds off his pads and 65 footers over the shoulder. The wings will have to get better with their shot selection if they want to win in Pittsburgh.


June 2nd, 2009 at 1:42 AM ^

I can see what you are saying, but generally speaking many of the shots that hit a post did beat the goalie. The goalies have a pretty good sense of whether shots are on goal or not, but not down to an inch or two. For the most part, a shot that actually hits the post is one that the goalie tried, and failed, to stop. In a sense they are lucky that the one that snuck by them was off by just a fraction.

If Pens fans want to talk about luck they have plenty of other things to which they could point instead (full disclosure: I am a Sabres fan, so I have no dog in this fight), such as:

1) The fact that neither of the first two Wings goals in Game 1 were shots on goal;

2) Abdelkader's game one goal was a borderline hand pass, as he advanced the puck out in front of the goal rather than gloving it straight down (and I don't think that he makes that shot 2 times out of 10 tries);

3) Abdelkader's game two goal was pretty just a slap at a bouncing puck that happened to be a perfect shot (either he is way more of a sharpshooter than I thought, or is on quite a lucky streak);

4) It looked like Zetterberg may have covered the puck in the crease, but there were too many bodies in there to clearly see what was going on.

The Wings just appear to be a deeper and more experienced team, and a lot of times hockey teams make their own luck. I must say that I am a little disappointed that despite all of the talent out on the ice, the play has been sloppy and most of the goals have been pretty ugly/fluky. Hopefully things will open up a bit and we will see a little more of the precision play that both teams are capable of producing.


June 2nd, 2009 at 4:17 PM ^

Right. If you watch closely you can see that the real sharpshooters in the game will stand the puck up on end before the shoot it - it really improves the speed and accuracy of the shot. When they really want to be precise they also make sure that the puck is bouncing, so that it will fly end over end. All of the top players do it that way . . .

In-state kid, good story and all - but he couldn't replicate that shot in that situation if you gave him a bunch of chances to do so. It was a lucky (and good) shot. Either that, or the kid has watched too many Mighty Ducks movies, has mastered the knuckle-puck shot and was just holding off on scoring such masterful goals until he was on the big stage of the finals. Yeah, that's probably it, and he had been sent down to the minors so that the other teams wouldn't have any film on the Wings' secret weapon.


June 2nd, 2009 at 1:50 AM ^

It's like we say in soccer: the goalie has his angles covered.

I'd agree that a shot that hits the post is a shot that "beat the goalie". However, that doesn't make the goalie lucky. It really doesn't mean anything. What if that shot that beat the goalie was an inch wide of the post? Is that any different really?

A lot of shots beat the goalie and clank a post or sail just wide. Again, when that happens it is usually because the goalie has their angles properly covered.


June 2nd, 2009 at 2:44 AM ^

I think, by definition, goalies have to get lucky on a lot of things. It was no more "luck" that Fleury kicked two pucks into his own net in Game 1 than it was that Stuart knocked the puck into his own net in Game 2. Or that Osgood misplayed that rebound in Game 1. Bounces are part of the game - sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't. If Zetterberg doesn't hit the post early in Game 1, maybe that game turns into a rout. If Fleury doesn't flop around on Franzen's goal, maybe Pittsburgh wins. If Malkin shoots the puck two inches higher on his breakaway, maybe Pittsburgh wins.

To get lucky, though, I think you have to put yourself in a position to be lucky. Fleury's poor positional play directly resulted in the three Game 1 goals. Osgood forcing a tough angle shot resulted in the posts in Game 2. However, he also got lucky in that both shots hit the inside of the post and didn't go in. A post, especially from that angle, is about a 50/50 proposition for the shooter. If you see the replay on Crosby's post, watch how lucky he is that when the puck comes back across the goal line, that it doesn't hit his pad or skate and go in.

It's one thing to say he got lucky on a play or two. That's going to happen. But to claim that his entire performance thus far is predicated on luck alone is being facetious. Yes, Detroit has had a few breaks go their way, but I don't think they've had 75% of the luck in the series thus far like the score would predict. But still, this series is far from over. I honestly believe Detroit needs at least a split in Pittsburgh. If it comes back to Detroit 2-2 on Saturday, I'm not so sure Detroit pulls it off.


June 2nd, 2009 at 6:22 AM ^

Yes. But, that is what happens when you put constant pressure on the goalie. As for the shots off the post, that's just part of the game. The posts are just extra equipment for the goalie.


June 2nd, 2009 at 7:54 AM ^

...about anything Pittsburgh is whining about.

The job of the hockey team is to score goals.

The job of the goalie is to prevent goals.

Chris Osgood is doing his job, and is currently doing it better than any goalie in the league.

Pittsburgh is failing at its job.

Detroit is up two games to nil.

And that's all that matters.


June 2nd, 2009 at 8:50 AM ^

debunked the myth. The whining falls on deaf ears in Hockeytown - probably because as a Detroit fan we always outshoot, outskate, outplay teams and don't always win the series. So, it's a nice change of pace to hear the whining from the other side.


June 6th, 2009 at 6:41 PM ^

yet now its tied,
and Marc Andre Fleury out played Osgood at home and osgood Fleury at home
but they are tied if you look at goals scored on them. 10-10
but if you take off the two crap ones the wings got off fleury and the spring boards, thats 8 on fleury and 10 on osgood, but then you can take away crosby's in game 3, because Osgood is better then that, as in not controling his rebounds,
so yes it is luck. AS a goalie myself, although soccer, even though you cut off the angle perfectly well, they can have a hell of a shot and still score. and i consider anything going off the post and out lucky because they didn't score.


June 2nd, 2009 at 9:26 AM ^

The Franzen goal in game one was completely due to Fleury's poor positioning, not the Pens being "unlucky". He was several feet outside the crease on the initial shot, and had no chance at making a normal recovery. Also, Cleary had his stick on the ice ready to tap it in if it missed Fleury's Pad.

Pens are losing because they are not playing as well as they can. Let's hope they pick it so we can watch a good game tonight.

Big Boutros

June 2nd, 2009 at 9:47 AM ^

This "Pensblog" is written in some sort of strange haiku format, so it's usually difficult to discern what they're trying to say, but I extracted the following bits from that post:

-Chris Osgood is a joke. He's so much of a joke that they call him "Osjoke." They call him this, you see, because he sucks. His massive sucking is what makes him a joke. A joke with three Cups and a 2.11 career playoff GAA. Because he sucks. Obviously.

-Jordan Staal's ugly face is the reason why this post is not "whining," but rather, "helplessness." There is a player on the Penguins roster--which is an ice hockey team, lest you forget--with some bruises and lacerations on his face. This means his team has been unfairly treated by the referees over the course of this series. There is no exception to this corollary. If you are a professional hockey player and your face has been bruised, scratched, or otherwise injured, you have been disrespected by the officials. "Ah," you say. "Now I understand why Chris Simon is a violent psychopath. He just doesn't get any respect."

-Johan Franzen checked Chris Kunitz into the Red Wings bench in Game 2. This is illegal. Rule 47, Section A clearly states that no player may check Chris Kunitz without prior written consent. In fact, the rules prefer that players not check each other at all. Hockey is supposed to be a non-contact sport, after all.

-Evgeni Malkin is a true man's man who "got the better of Zetterberg." You can tell this was the case because at the end of the altercation all of Malkin's pads had been ripped off and he was on the verge of tears. This is what manly men call "winning."


June 2nd, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

As a die-hard Flyers fan who despises the Penguins second most in sports (to only Ohio State), I have to tell you folks you need to wake up: you're KIDDING yourself if you don't think Detroit hasn't received all the bounces. That said, I've always believed you make your own luck, and Detroit is certainly churning it out.

If I was a Pens fan, I'd be busy complaining about valid points like Detroit clutching and neutral zone trapping. That's what has made the first 2 games of the cup so awful/boring. We'd be better off if the league was able to showcase one of the awesome series this year (Pitt/Wash, CGY/Chi, Det/Ana, etc.) instead of this flashback to 1995.


June 2nd, 2009 at 2:50 PM ^

Detroit has not received 100% of the bounces. Pittsburgh has lucked out on a lot of no calls including the NHL reversing its new rule so that Malkin wouldn't be suspended for Game 3. Detroit could have scored some goals off of Power Plays had the refs called Crosby for cheap shots, a Penguin for neck tackling a Red Wing in the crease after the play was over, and etc...

Detroit is overcoming the injuries, bad bounces, and creating their own luck. While Pittsburgh is not. Champions can rise above it, which is why Detroit is poised at its 5th Stanley Cup Championship since 1997.


June 2nd, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

I was arguing that a shot hitting the post is not an example of luck in the favor of the goalie. Luck is when a puck flipping end over end bounces left into the goal instead of right.

The series is 2-0 right now for two simple reasons:

1) Osgood is outplaying MAF. His stats are better and he's making the timely save. He has stopped Malkin and Crosby on point-blank opportunities.

2) The top lines are cancelling each other out. This leaves the 3rd and 4th lines of either team to battle it out. Advantage Detroit here.

I guess we are lucky that both of these things are occurring.


June 2nd, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

To Flyers Fan:
Since the lock out year the NHL has made a huge change in the way it calls the hockey games, the no clutching and grabbing, no hooking etc, they have called it pretty consistent. I don't see hardly any going on, not really, the refs don't tolerate it. I have seen this point on other sites but honestly I just don't think that people can believe that Z can cover people with out doing it but he does. This is what makes him sooo good. He has been doing it for years now and the only people that see it are the Detroit fans except when they get the spotlight, like now. Z shuts down the top players in the league night after night and manages to score a few on his own. He is one of the best in the league along with Dats on shutting down other players.


June 2nd, 2009 at 3:14 PM ^

Oh I know all about the rule changes. I played for 15 years so hockey was my favorite sport and the one I follow closest. They have called the new rules fairly consistently... until this series. It's been baffling and frustrating to watch. There's a reason Detroit was giving up powerplay goals like mad: they kept getting nailed for their neutral zone garbage. The refs have swallowed the whistle since the finals began, though, which only hurts the league.

I'm of the opinion that Detroit can trounce Pittsburgh if they play it straight up anyway, and I really wish they would. It would be more fun to watch as a pure hockey fan, but casual fans would also get to see the progression towards speed and aggressiveness the league had taken. It's honestly dangerous for the game for detroit to win this way. I hope they open it up and let their own talent shine from here on out.


June 2nd, 2009 at 3:45 PM ^

The Red Wings are the least penalized team in the playoffs. Penguins are second. It is not surprising that there are very few penalties in this series.

I think its funny that people are complaining that the most puck possession-focused team in the league is the one benefiting from clutching and grabbing. Just wow.

This series has not been dominated by interference. Personally, I think crosschecking is something that needs to be called more. Too many players get three or four sticks across their back while skating around behind or in front of the goal.


June 2nd, 2009 at 4:29 PM ^

You folks are awfully sensitive for a group who's team is up 2-0. I just wanted to point out that as an outsider who is actively routing for the penguins to lose, I wish Detroit would not trap and do the neutral zone stuff that ruined the game. You guys definitely have the superior team and for the good of the league, you should let your talent shine. The Wings have done a very nice job of making their own luck (as I said), the real issue is what this style of play could do for the league as a whole again.


June 2nd, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

I just don't get your argument. I love watching Red Wings hockey. They are the only team that can complete a set of passes across the neutral zone. I actually dislike the clutch and grab stuff. Defense, however, is something I enjoy. Zetterberg and especially Lidstrom play defense using active sticks and smart play. Zetterberg is keeping Crosby in line by actually guarding him. Good offense isn't really good offense if nobody is playing defense (hear that Eastern Conference?). I am NOT whining. I'm just calling bullshit on all the excuses being used for the last two games going the way they have. Osgood>Fleury. End of story. No refs, no bounces.

Also, see WolvinLA post.


June 3rd, 2009 at 9:18 PM ^

I prefer to let Babcock dictate the style of play. You can call it whatever you want. They're playing by the rules.
If the Flyers were playing for cup, you really think you would prefer they consider "what this style of play could do for the league" as opposed to what brings home the cup?


June 2nd, 2009 at 4:44 PM ^

Honestly, I REALLY like what detroit does in the opponent's end and in their defensive end. When they get their own sustained pressure, or have the opportunity to make a big defensive stop, it's textbook and fun to watch. But the way they are trapping the neutral zone right now is not good for hockey; it's really slowing the game down. It's not good defense either, it's a cheap system that makes you think you're watching the 98 Panthers.

I could see a sub-par team sneaking into the finals and then using the system to try and shut-down Crosby and Malkin. But this detroit, probably the best defensive team in the league. They don't need to do it. They are good enough to defend with the flow.


June 2nd, 2009 at 5:28 PM ^

or is it Michel Therrien?

While you're "closely following" hockey, you might want to actually watch the games. I loved Olczyk's comment in game two (one of his many nuggets of wisdom he dispenses throughout the games) about the "unspoken truth" that the Wings get away with all sorts of interference. Unspoken, that is, except when Therrien made the same whine during last year's final.

Problem is, it's demonstrably false. After Olczyk said that in game two, I watched with great interest while Pittsburgh's defensemen did EXACTLY the same thing that Kronwall had done to prompt the comment, and while Olczyk remained curiously silent about it. The Wings are probably doing this somewhat more than they did in the earlier rounds -- but guess what, you can say the same about the Penguins, because it's fairly evident that the refs are generally swallowing their whistles in the finals. Even so, there's a lot less of this sort of interference than in the old days when it wasn't called, and the players pretty much know how much they can do it without getting a call -- brief holdup is OK, but you have to release pretty quickly or you're off to the box. If you've been "closely following" hockey in recent years, you've surely seen this.

Also, as to your claim that the Wings stopped doing this in earlier rounds because they were giving up too many power play goals, you should probably go back and check what they were being penalized for. I could be wrong, but I recall hardly any (if any) penalties called against them for this sort of interference -- for the simple reason that they generally don't do it.

Clarence Beeks

June 3rd, 2009 at 12:56 AM ^

That's just silly to say that Detroit doesn't do more interfering. That's the way the western conference is officiated. The eastern conference isn't. Thus the reason why the Penguins and Senators have complained about this the past three Finals, which in case you hadn't noticed weren't all against Detroit. It's not so much a complaint about Detroit as it is against the difference in the officiating standard. The last two years it took Pittsburgh two games to realize that's how it was going to be called and then they started doing the exact same type of interference as Detroit, with neither team being called. Your observation just reeks of having not watched much hockey other than Red Wings games.


June 3rd, 2009 at 10:36 AM ^

To read this, one might think there are "Eastern Conference" and "Western Conference" officials -- but of course there aren't. I guess I missed the memo where they told the SAME officials to call the games differently in the two conferences.

In fact, the difference lies not in the conferences, but in the teams. Some interfere more, some less. Care to check the stats? The Wings were the second-least penalized team in the league during the regular season. I guess the refs just favor them and ignore all their interference, for some unexplained reason.

But you missed the larger point -- I was replying to someone who appeared to be about 10 years out of date with the "clutching and grabbing in the neutral zone" comment. This old-school sort of interference has largely been eliminated nowadays, because it's routinely called. The "new style" interference is holding someone up at the line after a dump-in -- you usually can get away with some but not "too much" (although the call against Ericsson last night shows you never know for sure). I admit, I haven't seen much of the Penguins in the regular season, but they certainly seem capable of this sort of interference in the finals. If they "usually" don't do this and it takes them 2 games in each of the past 2 finals to figure out they can get away with it (a premise belied by the number of times they did it in games one/two, before they "realized" they could, according to you), then that doesn't say much for their intelligence.

So, sorry, but I'm going to stick with my "silly" view that Detroit doesn't do more interfering -- I'll trust my own eyes backed by stats, thanks very much.

Clarence Beeks

June 3rd, 2009 at 10:44 AM ^

No shit sherlock, I realize that the same officials call the games in both conferences. However, if you really think that they call the games the same in both conferences you are delusional, or as I said previously, don't watch enough games from both conferences. In the east, the "hold them up at the line" interference that you admit is not called in the West is ROUTINELY called in the East. That's the difference in officiating between the conferences. If you don't realize this, you really haven't watched many games in the East over the last several years.

You can trust the stats all you want, but remember that stats don't always tell the entire story. If you want to look just at stats, especially in the context of this precise discussion, then a more accurate representation would be the number of interference penalties assessed, not just the sheer number of penalties assessed. I can't remember where it is reported and accessible off of the top of my head, but this data is tracked (obviously) and reported publicly somewhere. I agree with you that you should trust your eyes, but it's always helpful to watch a significant number of games in both conferences before doing so.

Clarence Beeks

June 3rd, 2009 at 11:10 AM ^

What are you talking about? How is that I am the one that sound like an idiot when any idiot that watches a lot of hockey knows that the two conferences are called differently in certain aspects of the game. Are you honestly, which it appears that you are by saying that I have "absolutely nothing to back[] up [my] argument", saying that they don't call the "hold them up at the line" interference regularly in the East but not in the West? You've got to be kidding. Maybe next time try to refute some, or for that matter any, of the points that I made instead of just making a conclusory statement with no semblance of an attempt to make a coherent argument based in reason.


June 4th, 2009 at 9:02 AM ^

You don't even make a valid point.

How do you argue with that? You basically admitted that you don't have any stats to back up your baseless assertions.

Here's how stupid you sound:

"The refs in the Pac-10 and the refs in the Big-10 both calls their conference games differently.

The refs allow the Pac-10 to get away with penalties during the Rose Bowl that would normally be called in a Big-10 game.

That's why the Big-10 teams always complain about the officiating after the game, and that's why they lose.

It's too bad because the Pac-10 doesn't need that kind of help.

No, there aren't any stats or evidence to back up my bullshit theory, but if you can't see this, then you haven't watched enough Pac-10 football."

We get it. You like both teams. Great. It should be a fun series for you to watch. But please spare us with the "Wings are winning because the refs allow them to cheat (like they always do)" angle.

Clarence Beeks

June 4th, 2009 at 9:46 AM ^

Dude, chill out. I never, ever said "Wings are winning because the refs allow them to cheat (like they always do)". Never. Not once. You're reading that into what I am saying and I have no idea why, especially because I don't believe that's the case. I was simply commenting on the difference in the officiating standard between the two conferences. I honestly am at a loss as to how you can really say that there isn't a difference in the standard between the two conferences on this precise point, unless as I stated previously, you predominantly watch games from only one conference. Also, please knock of the use of the personal insults (e.g. you sound stupid, complete idiot, etc.). In other words, just let your argument speak for itself.


June 3rd, 2009 at 11:09 AM ^

OK, so I haven't watched the NHL that closely this season, so I not an expert or anything, but this just sounds ridiculous. The same refs, who officiate games for both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, decided to call games differently based on whether it's an Eastern Conference game or a Western Conference game? Why? Could you please give me a good reason why they would call this type of penalty more against the Eastern Conference teams, outside of Eastern Conference teams committing that type of penalty more often. But what you are pushing sounds like some goofy conspiracy theory.

Clarence Beeks

June 3rd, 2009 at 11:17 AM ^

I have no idea why they do it, but they do. I admittedly watch A LOT of hockey, including almost every Red Wings and Penguins game for the past I don't know how many years now. Yes, blasphemy, I'm a fan of both teams because of where I've lived during my life. One reason might be that while the same referees have, by the way the rule is established, the ability to call games in both conferences, they don't split their time equally. Another factor might be related to the styles that the teams play in the two conferences (as a generalization), which I am pretty sure that everyone will agree is different. There aren't many differences, but the dump and chase type interference that the poster I was responding to brought up, is the primary difference. It's something that is almost always called in the East but almost never called in the West. As for this sounding "conspiracy theory-ish" I don't know why you'd say that, considering that is common knowledge that hockey rules are malleable based on circumstances, most notably the difference in standard from the regular season to the playoffs.


June 2nd, 2009 at 2:49 PM ^

Osgood is a solid goalie and has played very well in the playoffs...However, in Game 1 he gave up more rebounds than he would liked to have and Game 2 he did lose sight of the puck more than he would liked to have (not entirely his fault).